The power of one is a concept that always intrigues me. How can one person create so much change? How can one idea create something that feeds one million people a year? The thought is humbling, empowering and pure inspiration.
The “one” I am talking about is a man named Tony Collier. He was a cook who saw leftovers going to waste and decided to do something about it. Sound simple enough? As a cook, for a Los Angeles based non-profit, Tony received more donations than he needed. So, he decided he needed to share his leftovers with other charities that were trying to feed the hungry as well. Tony had heard about a food bank in Phoenix that had done something similar and decided to bring that model to Los Angeles and founded Los Angeles Regional Food Bank in 1973.
From the very beginning the 200 square foot garage quickly filled up and soon had to move into a converted 2,600 square foot dry cleaning facility in Pasadena. By the early 1980’s Tony’s simple idea was distributing more than 3.5 million pounds of food to over 70 different agencies in LA.
Today, The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank distributes 51 million pounds of food or the equivalent of 42.4 million meals. The LA Food Bank served over 1 million people last year with the help of 32,000 volunteers.
One man’s simple idea is no longer housed in a garage but now resides in a 96,000 square foot facility that distributes the food to over 653 different agencies throughout the LA area. One man, one idea and a legacy of compassion that continues to inspire.
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